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Tuesday round-up

This morning the court will hear oral arguments in two partisan-gerrymandering cases. First up is Rucho v. Common Cause, a challenge to North Carolina’s federal congressional map, adopted by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature in 2016. Connor O’Neill previews the case for Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute. This morning’s second argument is in Lamone v. Benisek, in which Republican voters are challenging a single Maryland congressional district. Matt Farnum and Trevor O’Bryan have a preview for Cornell. Amy Howe previewed both cases for this blog, and Subscript Law offers a graphic explainer. At NPR, Nina Totenberg reports that “[a] year and a pivotal justice’s retirement after the high court dodged the question, those seeking to break the political stranglehold over legislative redistricting are urging the justices to draw a line beyond which the Republican and Democratic parties cannot go in entrenching their political power, sometimes for decades at a time.” At Constitution Daily, Lyle Denniston reports that “[t]he Court has been asked directly, in [Common Cause], to rule that there is no role for courts to play in overseeing partisan gerrymandering because there simply cannot be a workable formula for judging its validity.” Another preview comes from Steven Mazie at The Economist’s Espresso blog. At Slate, Richard Hasen writes that in the partisan-gerrymandering cases, and in an upcoming case involving a challenge to the federal government’s decision to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census, Chief Justice John “Roberts could well be the only one in a position to stop a pattern in which all the Republican-appointed judges side with perceived Republican interests and all the Democratic-appointed judges side with perceived Democratic interests.”

Yesterday the court released orders from Friday’s conference. The justices did not add any new cases to their merits docket, and they declined to review a lower-court ruling holding an unnamed foreign corporation in contempt for failing to comply with a subpoena related to the Mueller investigation. This blog’s coverage, which was first published at Howe on the Court, comes from Amy Howe. For The New York Times, Adam Liptak reports that “[t]he court’s action means that the corporation must provide information to the special counsel or pay mounting financial penalties.”


  • Mark Walsh has a first-hand account of yesterday’s oral arguments in PDR Network, LLC v. Carlton & Harris Chiropractic Inc., which asks whether courts are required to accept the Federal Communications Commission’s interpretation of a statute allowing recipients of junk faxes to sue the senders for damages, and maritime-law case The Dutra Group v. Batterton, for this blog.
  • At E&E News, Ellen Gilmer reports that Kisor v. Wilkie, in which the justices will reconsider precedents that require courts to defer to a federal agency’s reasonable interpretation of its own regulations, “will serve as an early indication of how the newly constituted Supreme Court, which shifted to the right after Justice Anthony Kennedy retired last year, will approach the administrative state.”
  • At the Immigration Prof Blog, Kevin Johnson maintains that Nielsen v. Preap, in which a divided court held last week that a noncitizen does not become exempt from mandatory detention if, after he has been released from criminal custody, immigration agents do not take him into immigration custody immediately, “will not likely have a huge impact on immigration law and immigration detention.”
  • In the latest episode of SCOTUStalk (podcast), Amy Howe talks to Evan and Oscie Thomas about Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the subject of Evan Thomas’ new biography.
  • At SCOTUS OA, Tonja Jacobi and Matthew Sag explain that just as, “starting in the mid-1990s, oral argument has mimicked changes in the political institutions toward extreme polarization, so too laughter, as a vehicle for judicial advocacy in the high-stakes fight for political dominance, follows that same tendency.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 26, 2019, 6:27 AM),